2024 Legislative Priorties
Strategic Water Supply
Senate Bill 275
The Strategic Water Supply is a first-of-its-kind, innovative initiative to bolster drought resilience and clean energy production. FY25, the State of New Mexico will use $250 million in severance taxes to make an advanced market commitment to purchasing treated brackish and treated produced water. An additional $250 million is planned for FY26 for a total commitment of $500 million.
Governor’s Housing and Homelessness Initiative
All New Mexicans deserve safe and affordable housing and that is simply not happening right now. As a result of the current housing crisis, we are seeing skyrocketing costs, development that has slowed due to burdens on builders, families that are delaying the process of home ownership, services that do not collaborate with other services, and a growing unhoused community that is more visibly living on the street.
Creating the Crime of Hazing
House Bill 225
New Mexico students deserve to be safe while attending college and participating in school-related activities. Unfortunately, recent incidents of hazing, sexual abuse and failure of school officials to adequately address these incidents have underscored the need for the state to take action. New Mexico is one of six states that does not criminalize hazing in some form. A priority the Higher Education Department, House Bill 225, Creating the Crime of Hazing, strengthens student protections by holding offenders criminally liable for hazing, creates a portal for students to report incidents of hazing beyond their campus, and takes a unified approach to addressing hazing across all New Mexico colleges and universities.
Clean Car Income Tax Credit
House Bill 140
House Bill 140 creates a tax credit for purchase or lease of electric vehicles, plug-in hybrid electric vehicles or fuel cell vehicles against personal or corporate income tax liability. It also would create a credit for purchase and installation of electric vehicle charging units.
Health Care Affordability Initiatives
House Bill 7
The Health Care Affordability Fund was established in 2021 and has since led to significant improvements in affordability for consumers and small businesses in New Mexico. This initiative followed the federal government’s phase-out of a fee on health insurers, prompting the state to ensure that the resulting revenue directly benefited consumers.
The Fund’s purpose is to provide resources for programs reducing consumer costs on the state’s HealthInsurance Marketplace (beWellnm), aiding small businesses and their employees, and supporting lower-income uninsured New Mexicans. The Office of Superintendent of Insurance (OSI) is currently implementing these programs.
To date, small businesses and their employees have saved $45 million on health insurance premiums, offering relief to 6,000 businesses and 41,000 employees. OSI’s beWellnm programs reduce both premiums and out-of-pocket costs for lower and moderate-income consumers. The recently concluded Open Enrollment Period for beWellnm saw a record-high enrollment, up 38% year-over-year, with 57,000 people now enrolled in high-quality, affordable coverage.
Extreme Risk Protection Order Changes
House Bill 27
New Mexico has had the “Extreme Risk Firearm Protection Order Act” since 2020 but less than 50 extreme risk firearm protection orders have been filed. This critical public safety law needs to be fixed. House Bill 27 amends the current law to qualify health care professionals and law enforcement officers as a “reporting party” for purposes of seeking a petition for an extreme risk firearm protection order. This distinction is important. For example, a recent extreme risk firearm protection order petition in the first judicial District Court failed because the reporting party was a law enforcement officer and not a family member or close associate. Additionally, HB27 speeds up the entire process.
Firearm Industry Accountability Act
House Bill 114
House bill 114 requires manufacturers and sellers to comply with our state laws and it requires them to not promote the unlawful sale, manufacturing, importing, advertising, or marketing of a firearm product.
Raising Age to 21 for Certain Firearm Purchases
House Bill 127
HB 127 adds a new section to the Criminal Code to establish the age of 21 as the minimum age to purchase or possess certain firearms. Those firearms include: automatic firearm semi automatic firearm or large capacity ammunition feeding device.
Firearm Sale Waiting Period Crimes
House Bill 129
House bill 129 amends the Criminal Code to require a 14 day “cool off” for sale of a firearm, and transfer of the firearm to the buyer. This bill has the potential to save the lives of people who are in suicidal crisis or who want to harm someone else. Buyer and seller may face a misdemeanor charge if they violate the waiting.
Gas-Operated Semiauto Firearms Exclusion Act
House Bill 137
House Bill 137 is called the “Gas-Operated Semiautomatic Firearms Exclusion Act,” which aims to outlaw semi-automatic assault weapons and large-capacity magazines; Semi-automatic weapons are civilian versions of military weapons. President Bill Clinton signed an assault-weapons ban in 1994. Mass shootings were down in the decade that followed. The ban ended in 2004.
New Mexico Match Fund
House Bill 177
New Mexico is presented with a unique opportunity to leverage once-in-a-lifetime federal funding for infrastructure, research, economic development, the energy transition, and other projects that foster healthy communities. Many federal programs require matching funds, sometimes up to 50% of the federal award. State agencies, tribal governments, counties, municipalities and other entities eligible to apply for federal grants may devote significant time and energy to identify required match and still come up short. In addition, sometimes New Mexico communities are unable to leverage federal dollars because some of the federal requirements can drive up the total cost of a project. New Mexico must prioritize state funding for match and enhance support for state, local, tribal, and community capabilities in pursuing and managing federal grants.
Health Care Authority Department
Senate Bill 14
The Health Care Authority Department Act, passed in 2023, initiated the establishment of the department by renaming the Human Services Department and transferring various divisions and functions from the Department of Health and General Services to the Health Care Authority. Senate Bill 14 is a statutory clean-up bill that changes the name from the Human Services Department to the Health Care Authority throughout various statutes. It also recompiles(rearranges) statutes to form a new Chapter 24A, titled ‘Health Care Code,’ consolidating all sections currently found in Chapter 24 (Health & Safety) that pertain to the Health Care Authority. Any sections of the law being amended may also undergo technical clean-up to remove outdated language.
Determination of Competency of Defendant in Criminal Case
Senate Bill 16
Like the rest of the nation, New Mexico is faced with the growing twin crises of substance use disorder and crime. The often-used, short-term solutions of incarceration and emergency room visits are not effective and do not ultimately provide the compassionate response needed to assist individuals in crisis. In addition, these individuals can pose a risk to public safety, and crowd up the court systems. Under current laws, individuals found not competent largely have charges against them dismissed and are simply given information about services. This approach is not effective, especially for those in crisis who need additional assistance in accepting treatment.
There is a better way. Integrating public health interventions into public safety is crucial to providing the best care for individuals in the community struggling with behavioral health issues. The public health approach proposed by Senate Bill 16 improves the justice system by implementing trauma-informed methods into public safety practices.
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